Limit Loudness to 93db
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  1. #1
    Tech Mentor Stephen Nawlins's Avatar
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    Default Limit Loudness to 93db

    Hello everybody,
    I'm Mixing over here in Switzerland since 18 years in different Locations going from corporate Parties with 2000 peoples to Little Bars with Max. 100.
    Also having my 3-4 mobile gigs a year.

    Now the government is talking about new Loudness Regulation that might start 1st of January 2019
    All Events providing "electricaly empowered Music" over 93Db, have to record the Music with Special measurement Tools and to storage those copies for 30 days. I guess it's to have any evidences if someone attended the Event and got severe Hearing damage, they'll have 30 days time to suit you.

    Well, that means all Concerts, Openairs, Clubs, Bars but also all private Events like Weddings, Birthday Parties, Sport Events, etc... will have to make those recordings and to storage the datas.

    I checked the market and those measurement Tools cost now in between 5-7'000 USD (Prices will probably even rise as soon as this law will apply and everyone Needs it) which is a serious Investition for a DJ making only 20-30 gigs a year.

    So my thoughts were: If I stay under 93Db I won't be on the dark side of the force and won't have to use one of those Tools.

    Which are the financially affordable alternatives to Limit my Volume to 93Db?

    I remember something like 10 years ago I played regulary in a Bar that had a Limiter installed fix.
    It had a Green/Yellow/Red LED indication that showed you how loud you were. A Microphone installed on the ceiling in the middle of the room measured the volume and sent the informations to the limiter. Only Problem was, that when you got too loud or when a loud Bass was on the beginning of the song, it cut off the Sound totally for about 30 seconds which led to People whistlening and booing the DJ until the Music came back.

    Does any device exist that I can install in between Mixer and PA, that would just Limit my Maximum Loudness to 93Db without shuting it down for 30 seconds?

    Does any device like that exist that is good for mobile use?
    I mean installing a Limiter in a Bar isn't a big deal and maybe 1/2 day of work and once it's installed it stays there for a while. But in mobile use I would Need kinda microphone with a wireless Connection to the Limiter itself no?

    I'm happy about any Kind of advice on how to stay under 93Db

    Thanx in advance for your help.

  2. #2
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    Does any device exist that I can install in between Mixer and PA, that would just Limit my Maximum Loudness to 93Db without shuting it down for 30 seconds?
    I think the short answer to this is going to be "no". What they're talking about is the volume of the audio coming out of the speakers. So your mixer could be putting out a low level signal that gets boosted by a preamp or amplifier before coming out of your speakers. You need a dB meter. These are actually not expensive at all. There are many available in app form (the one I use is AUDIO TOOLS - http://www.studiosixdigital.com/audiotools/). You can also get a hardware meter like these - https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...words=db+meter .

    You'll need to read a little about the rule to understand where they're taking the measurement (is it 1 meter from the speaker, or from some other location). Then just make your measurements accordingly. Once you've established a good baseline, setting up a limiter to keep you from going over should be no problem.

    I think you can probably get by with a dB meter and a decent limiter for a mobile rig (like the https://dbxpro.com/en/products/1066 for about $450). There are even cheaper options if you need them.

  3. #3
    Tech Guru astromech's Avatar
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    Sounds like a bullshit law designed to criminalise electronic music.
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  4. #4
    Tech Mentor Stephen Nawlins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happydan View Post
    Sounds like a bullshit law designed to criminalise electronic music.
    It's not against Electronic Music at all as it includes every Kind of enpowered signal.

    Every Rock, Pop Openair Festival will be touched the same way as well as Weddings, Sport Events, etc...

    In the beginning they were talking about every Music played louder than 93Db, then Carnival Parade marching bands started questionning on how they can fulfill the requirements as they are nonstop in movement....so they changed to every Kind of enpowered.

    I still ask myself how they gonna handle the Lovemobiles during the yearly Streetparade in Zürich.

  5. #5
    Tech Guru the_bastet's Avatar
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    ARe they requiring a specific device for measurement? We just use DB Meters (which are $70) to ensure we aren't violating sound ordinances for outdoor events we throw here.
    - Equipment - 2X Technics 1200, 2X Audio Technica ATLP1240, 2X XDJ700, 2X XDJ1000 MK2, Denon DNX-1100, Mixars DUO, DJM750 MK2, NI Audio 10, NI Aduio 4, Serato SL3, 4X Shure M44-7, 2X Ortofon Pro S, 2X Numark Groove Tool, Maschine MK3, Samson Carbon 49, Roland SE-02, Novation Launchcontrol, TouchOSC, Nocation Peak, Arturia MiniBrute, Korg Volca Kick, MicroKorg (Classic), NI Komplete Audio 6

  6. #6
    Tech Mentor Stephen Nawlins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_bastet View Post
    ARe they requiring a specific device for measurement? We just use DB Meters (which are $70) to ensure we aren't violating sound ordinances for outdoor events we throw here.
    Well It has to measure but also record and storage the whole gig.
    I googled a bit and such Tools are costing around 5k.

    Law says you have to storage it for 30 days after the Event.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Nawlins View Post
    Well It has to measure but also record and storage the whole gig.
    I googled a bit and such Tools are costing around 5k.

    Law says you have to storage it for 30 days after the Event.
    This is the bit I don't understand. I don't know of a way to reverse engineer the dB level of the room from an audio recording. If there was some sort of calibration from a known audio source, and the capture device was placed in a specific location (as it would be in a lab setting), then you could definitely dial in a reliable measurement. But you're going to need to be off axis from the speaker because the space directly in front of the speaker will likely be full of people.

    And there are dB meters out there that keep a log of dB level over time, but none of them cost $5K (they're actually pretty cheap, because all that's needed above the dB meter itself is a method of mounting and writing to a storage device, and an RTC with battery).

  8. #8
    Tech Guru the_bastet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Nawlins View Post
    Well It has to measure but also record and storage the whole gig.
    I googled a bit and such Tools are costing around 5k.

    Law says you have to storage it for 30 days after the Event.
    Someone needs to counter that law. The majority of DB meters on the market in the sub $100 range will measure the levels over time and time stamp each measurement. Recorded audio honestly doesn't even make sense. Keeping the information for 90 days also does not make sense. The information would be easy to alter and in any court case it will become a he said/she said argument about where the device was placed in reference to sound.
    - Equipment - 2X Technics 1200, 2X Audio Technica ATLP1240, 2X XDJ700, 2X XDJ1000 MK2, Denon DNX-1100, Mixars DUO, DJM750 MK2, NI Audio 10, NI Aduio 4, Serato SL3, 4X Shure M44-7, 2X Ortofon Pro S, 2X Numark Groove Tool, Maschine MK3, Samson Carbon 49, Roland SE-02, Novation Launchcontrol, TouchOSC, Nocation Peak, Arturia MiniBrute, Korg Volca Kick, MicroKorg (Classic), NI Komplete Audio 6

  9. #9
    Tech Mentor pacific808's Avatar
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    So here are the questions I would try to find answers to;

    Which method is required to determine if a sound level is above 93db? Are they going by peak? RMS? Which weighting is used during measurements? Are they taken 1 meter from the speaker?

    If it is peak you are might want to run a limiter at 91db to be safe unless you really want to run a hard limit at 92 or 93. But be mindful that limiters have to be set correctly. You are going to have to do sound checks at every venue if you add or remove speakers from your setup.

  10. #10
    Tech Mentor Stephen Nawlins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacific808 View Post
    So here are the questions I would try to find answers to;

    Which method is required to determine if a sound level is above 93db? Are they going by peak? RMS? Which weighting is used during measurements? Are they taken 1 meter from the speaker?

    If it is peak you are might want to run a limiter at 91db to be safe unless you really want to run a hard limit at 92 or 93. But be mindful that limiters have to be set correctly. You are going to have to do sound checks at every venue if you add or remove speakers from your setup.
    If People making laws would be People with the technical knowledge then all those Details would already be fixed and the answers to the Problem clear.

    I see the Problems the same way that you and pretty sure that in the end there will be no possibility to solve the Problem but you know how the legislative works, they gonna say "You have to use that measurement tool that's the only one that we accept".

    Even with a limiter on 91Db I already see myself struggling with law enforcement pretending I'm too loud but not having a Db-meter with them to prove it etc...

    For sure being a DJ (specially a mobile one) will not be that fun and easy anymore.

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